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Friday May 25, 2012

Traffic chaos along bridge

TWO accidents along the Penang Bridge and a stalled bus before the toll plaza caused a massive traffic jam that stretched over 5km from the mainland towards the Penang Bridge.

Traffic police said no one was injured in the accidents but added that the jam was made worse when the drivers in the accident involving two lorries refused to remove their vehicles from the middle of the bridge road.

The jam which started at 7am only eased at about noon after the two lorries and the bus were removed from the scene.

Late for work: Bridge-bound vehicles caught in the jam near Sungai Dua toll booth in Seberang Jaya

Penang Internal Security, Public Order and Traffic chief Supt Wan Aziz Wan Husin, when contacted, said the traffic jam yesterday did not stretch for 20km as claimed by certain quarters and it was “not more than 5km” long.

“I don’t understand why both lorry drivers refused to remove their vehicles, making the situation worse,” he said.

He added that the stalled express bus, 1km before the bridge toll plaza, also added to the jam.

When contacted, a spokesman from Penang Bridge Sdn Bhd said the bus was removed by 10am.

“The bus broke down at 2am,” he said.

Bad day: One of the lorries involved in the accident

It is learnt that the stalled bus and the accident were believed to have caused another minor accident between a car and a lorry which were also swiftly removed to ease traffic.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who saw the accident and experienced the congestion when he was heading to an event in Seberang Prai, said the Penang Bridge operator should refund toll fare collected from motorists for failing to clear the bus earlier.

He said he was shocked to find out that the vehicle had broken down at 2am but was only cleared at about noon.

“Is this what we call performance first? We do not have to be here to be angry.

“Hearing about it alone can make us get angry,” he told reporters after launching the Penang Free Wifi Second Phase in Taman Inderawasih, Prai.

Lim claimed there was a bumper-to-bumper crawl along the bridge’s entire 13.5km stretch.

Lim said when there is a jam along a bridge for a certain period of time, the operator should not collect money from motorists stuck there.

“For example, if the jam is more than an hour, it should be free for motorists travelling along the bridge,” he said.

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